Animal personalities: consequences for ecology and evolution

Trends Ecol Evol. 2012 Aug;27(8):452-61. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 Jun 22.


Personality differences are a widespread phenomenon throughout the animal kingdom. Past research has focused on the characterization of such differences and a quest for their proximate and ultimate causation. However, the consequences of these differences for ecology and evolution received much less attention. Here, we strive to fill this gap by providing a comprehensive inventory of the potential implications of personality differences, ranging from population growth and persistence to species interactions and community dynamics, and covering issues such as social evolution, the speed of evolution, evolvability, and speciation. The emerging picture strongly suggests that personality differences matter for ecological and evolutionary processes (and their interaction) and, thus, should be considered a key dimension of ecologically and evolutionarily relevant intraspecific variation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Personality*
  • Population Dynamics